by Paul Larsen
The Sailrocket team launches its second-generation speed sailing boat from the Isle of Wight on 8 March, 2011.
Malcolm Barnsley and Paul Larsen MR
Vestas Sailrocket 2 is designed to be significantly faster than its predecessor, with the ultimate aim of breaking the ‘Outright World Speed Sailing Record’.
During the last 15 months, the Sailrocket team has been focused on building a better, safer and –above all – faster boat in Vestas Technology R&D’s facilities on the Isle of Wight. Now Vestas Sailrocket 2 will be launched to the public for the first time.
'Since we started pursuing the Outright World Speed Sailing Record 9 years ago, the record has been raised by exactly 9 knots. The current record holders, the kite surfers, have taken it out of the reach of all the previous contenders and it is going to take a very special boat to get it back. Vestas Sailrocket 2 is a boat that aims high. The only satisfactory outcome for us is the outright record,' Paul Larsen, pilot and project leader from the Sailrocket 2 team says.
With the record raised to the current level, the ambitious team behind Sailrocket is even more eager to develop a boat to break the Outright World Speed Sailing Record. In order to do that, conventional design has been left behind and everything is pushed to the limit.
'Many lessons have been learned since the first Sailrocket was launched in 2004. The first boat shows the scars of the many learning processes we have been through over the years. In the end it performed as predicted; although she briefly emerged as the fastest boat in the world, she never achieved the Outright record title. The record was like a mirage: as we got faster, so did the record,' Paul Larsen says.
'We learnt a lot with the first boat. The recent performance of the kite surfers vindicated our decision to build a new boat. I’m confident that Sailrocket 2 has the potential to take the record to new levels.'
Main Sailrocket sponsor Finn Strøm Madsen, President of Vestas Technology R&D, emphasises the Sailrocket team’s efforts in bringing knowledge about wind, design and sailing together in order to be the fastest in the world.
'Vestas has a deep interest in the Sailrocket project. By using innovation and technological breakthroughs you can harvest the power of wind with ever-improving efficiency. That is the key for both Vestas and Sailrocket. I look forward to seeing the new Vestas Sailrocket 2 push the boundaries of wind driven performance in the search of speed,' says Finn Strøm Madsen.
Vestas Sailrocket 2 will be launched on 8 March at Venture Quays, in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Both Sailrocket boats will be shown to the public.
About Vestas Sailrocket 2
Vestas Sailrocket 2 is a speed sailing boat based on a unique, stabilising concept. Vestas Sailrocket has continuously pushed the limits for speed sailing and currently holds the B class world record for speed sailing. The sail and keel elements are positioned so that there is virtually no overturning moment and no net vertical lift. As a result, the only significant response to wind gusts is a change in speed.
For Paul Larsen and Malcolm Barnsley, design team member from Vestas, the Vestas Sailrocket 2 project is a
realisation of their ultimate dream to design and sail the fastest boat on the planet.
Read more about Vestas Sailrocket at www.sailrocket.com.
About the ‘Outright world speed sailing record’
The Outright world speed sailing record is set by taking the average speed of a craft between two points set 500 meters apart. All records are observed and ratified by the sport’s governing body, the World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSRC). It is open to all water borne sailing crafts from kite surfers to maxi multihulls.
In late October 2010, American Kite surfer Rob Douglas set the current record in Luderitz, Namibia with a speed of at 55.65 knots (64 mph, 104 kmh). In a month-long session the kite surfers took the record off the mighty French hydro-foiler Hydroptere and raised the record by over four knots. They are expected to go faster still in the coming year.